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Full text of "A history of Persia"

LXV            ARCHITECTURE AND ART           287
us the locked doors of the past; and we seem to share in
the feasts and fights, in the pomp and dalliance of the
Safavi kings." We learn from the pages of Krusinski
that the original building described by Chardin was
destroyed by fire, and that we owe the present edifice to
Shah Sultan Husayn.1
The Chahar Bagh.—Such were the chief buildings in
the centre of the city, and we now pass to the Chahar
Bagh, or " Four Gardens,"2 with a splendid double avenue
of oriental planes one hundred and fifty feet wide, which
is entered by a fine gateway. Water ran down the centre
in stone channels and collected in basins at the cross
roads, and on each side tiled gateways led to the gardens
of the great nobles of the Court. To quote the ornate
description by Dr. Fryer,3 " all the pride of Spahaun was
met in the Chaurbaug, and the Grandees were Airing them-
selves, prancing about with Jiheir numerous Trains, striving
to outvie each other in !?omp and Generosity. ... In
the Garden itself, variety *of Green Trees flourishing,
sweet Odors smelling, clear Fountains and Rivers flowing,
charm all the senses ; nor is there less surprizal at the
ravishing Sight of the delicate Summer-houses by each
Pond's side, built with all the advantages for Recreation
and Delight."
The Madrasa-i-Shah Husayn.—Situated off the Chahar
Bagh is a magnificent madrasa^ or college, which impressed
me deeply. Beyond a recessed archway, with decoration
of the effective honeycomb pattern, a covered vestibule
leads into the main court. Here a combination of shade,
water and flowers enhances the beauty of the building,
the chief features of which are the exquisite tiles, rising
above a wainscoting of marble, and the lovely stencilling.
As the illustration proves, Coste has done full justice to
this stately pile.
The Bridge of Alkh Verdi Khan.—The noble avenue
of the Chahar Bagh leads to the bridge of Allah Verdi
1  Trans, by Dn Cerceau, i. p. 126.
2  The avenue was built on the site of four vineyards.    Persians are very fond of
building four gardens and dividing each garden into four divisions.
s East India, and Persia, ed. for the Hakluyt Society by Crooke.    Fryer's account of
Isfahan is well worth reading.